We spoke with Ryan Torcicollo, General Tree Care Talent Developer at SavATree, about his general approach to climbing.
This year for the 2021 Master catalog, we got the chance to interview several leaders in the arborist community about their knowledge on different subject matters. We spoke with Ryan Torcicollo, General Tree Care Talent Developer at SavATree, about his general approach to climbing.
- Knowing where you started, and where you are now, what do you want others to understand about the equipment we use?
- I tell guys, “I learned the hard way, and it sucked!” My body’s trashed from doing things the hard way. Now we know better ways. There’s even Youtube and Facebook to teach better ways. The larger companies are caring about their employees by doing trainings. It's different than it was ten years ago—it's all out there, like Sherrilltree's videos, Arborfests, and TCI EXPO. There’s a better way to do tree work; I don't want other people to have to do it the way I did and make my mistakes.
- In Petzl’s "Labor of Love" video, you said, “Climbing gear is there to make your life easier.” We know this, but we also know there are those who resist trying something that will change their climbing. Can you elaborate on your statement?
- When I'm training guys, I’ll set up an open ascent. The guys who swear by MRS see their buddies going up 60 feet in 20 seconds, then they only get up like 15 feet. They’re like, “Let me try that other stuff!” They get to see that it does make sense. It's hard, though, you know? I think that I'm not like one of those guys that doesn't want to try stuff, but I've been climbing on Yale 11.7mm lines for a decade. I just switched!
- What are you climbing on now?
- When I am climbing with the Chicane SRS or Zigzag MRS I have been switching back and forth between the Petzl Flow and Ray a decent bit. I had some luck with a few Teufeulberger ropes but the Petzl ones seem to run best. I for some reason cannot get myself to stop using Yale 11.7 when using a prussic, even though I keep trying different ropes over the years. The core on their ropes seems to react a lot better for me with hitch cords.
- When it comes to gear on your saddle, are you a magpie, minimalist, or somewhere in between?
- I'm on the minimalist side. One of the first things I do during trainings is make sure that everyone knows the Blake’s Hitch. If I'm getting far out on a limb for something like a reduction prune, 9 times outta 10, I'm using the tail of my rope as a second tie-in with a Blake's Hitch. I'm also big on the Petzl Zillon with the DMM thimble, because the Zillon is rated for single line configuration. I have a 20’ lanyard, and rock that as a second tie in all the time. Sometimes I’ll take a couple carabiners maybe, and a rollclip.
“One of the first things I do during trainings is make sure that everyone knows the Blake’s Hitch.”
- What saddle are you climbing with now?
- Petzl Sequoia—it's fabulous.
- Thanks, Ryan, for taking the time to talk to us! Congratulations on your promotion at SavATree and we look forward to seeing what you'll accomplish there!